[iDC] Introduction: Christina McPhee

Christina McPhee christina at christinamcphee.net
Thu Oct 8 00:02:42 UTC 2009

Hello all,

I've realized that I didn't introduce myself earlier this summer when  
Trebor asked me to contribute to this theme of digital labor on IDC.

Who/what/where/how: I've been more of a reader than a writer on the  
IDC list, and only for the last year or so.  As  artist and  
(occasional) writer I am obsessed with landscape/topologies and  
mapping/visualization. I am keenly interested in how writers make  
arguments, promote a view, and organize topological concepts within a  
quasi-linear medium.   Hypertext has materiality-- collectively  
sentences have a kind of massing presence as well as semi- linearity  
(a 'digital solid' --to quote Mark Wigley) .  As a reader i take  
pleasure in trying to understand arguments outside my fields, and am  
interested in decoding and assemblage... Even as I find writing  
daunting and 'unnatural,'  I find myself in the ironic position of  
teaching graduate students how to  write their thesis research  
papers-- this is at UC Santa Cruz, in the Digital Arts and New Media  
program-- where I am a visiting lecture this fall term 2009. Writing  
becomes processual editing in my intellectual world--possibly,  a  
world of shifting maps. The list.serv is fascinating as a social model  
or hermeneutics  alongside its antiquity and almost quaint charm  
(compared to the ubiquitous blog and generous but anonymous wiki, both  
of which remind me of vending machines or automats; whereas following  
a list thread reminds me of getting lost and finding talismans in  
those old story telling video games from the eighties, like MYST...).  
Somethimes this feels like being stuck in a Peter Greenaway film, like  
"A Walk Through H."  Or, a walk through Foods for Less ( http://version.org/videos/show/1 

News: "Tesserae of Venus" concerns imaging a world beyond carbon  
saturation in the atmosphere past 550 ppb, considered the ‘tipping  
point’ for an intensification of climate change at acute levels of  
risk for the biosphere and humans. I shoot photography and video at  
large scale energy installations (natural gas, geothermal, petroleum,  
etc); then I develop photomontages that refer to these sites, but in  
terms of a tesserated topology, or complex ridged form sequences.  
Tesserae recall the ‘complex ridged folds’ of the surface of our  
neighboring planet Venus, where atmospheric carbon is too intense to  
sustain life.  This project, including photomontage and related  
drawings, opens at Silverman Gallery, San Francisco in October 2009,  
through mid-December 2009.
The show opens October 23, 2009.  http://silverman-gallery.com/exhibition/view/1770 
  and http://silverman-gallery.com/artist/view/1615

Rhetorics:   I am interested in the 'critical report' and even  
abstract poetics around zones of biosphere/technologic crisis. Besides  
teaching in the Cruz,  I am often  a visiting critic at Cal Poly San  
Luis Obispo Department of Architecture--where,  often called upon to  
think and speak critically (in on the spot desk crits, informal juries  
etc)  about 'site' in relation to 'program', I find architecture  
struggling with many of same topics the IDC list currently takes on--  
the problematics of subjectivites, relationships of power and speech,  
public space and its foreclosures, sexuality and space, etc etc.   
Critical architecture has been my often contentious, albeit accidental  
teacher. As editor/moderator, some of you may recognize my name as  
part of the -empyre- team, founded by Melinda Rackham and based in  
Sydney (http://subtle.net/empyre).   As designer and producer,  I am  
also curating, an invitational artists project,  Pharmakon Library, a  
series of photographic /graphic text folios, on the pharmakon, or  
principle of critical reversability (the proximity of poison to  
cure).  This project's first folio was at the NY Art Book Fair 2008  
and is currently in development for folio 2.

The near future in New York: I look forward to meeting many of you in  
Manhattan next month and am very grateful to the New School and Trebor  
for including me in this venture. I have much to learn from listening  
to all of you.  I was last in town last April for the installation of  
the variable cinema installation "Plazaville," a noir-style parody of  
Godard's "Alphaville" , a project in collaboration with GH Hovagimyan,  
who is the first author-- and sponsored by Turbulence.org-- this was  
at Pace Digital Gallery in lower Manhattanhttp://turbulence.org/Works/plazaville/ 
   ( I made a bunch of hallucinatory animations from lower Manhattan/ 
Wall Street walks and shots inside the Apple store on Madison). New  
York also turns up as the central character in my 2008 short, "Seven  
After Eleven" -- four times around Ground Zero-- "Seven after Eleven"  
is  showing here in San Francisco later this month in Cinema by the  
Bay (SF Film Society). http://www.vimeo.com/5243681

Politics and space: Perhaps most closely related to some of the IDC  
themes, surrounding the themes of bare life, post-individual, and  
suppression of freedoms,  is my 'Recipe (evacuee cake)", a film about  
the stateless, those without papers, imagining evacuees and refugees  
as fodder for a cannibal state of emergency (i.e. 'put into pies.')  
This film premiered in France at Videoformes this year- hence the  
French subtitles...  here : http://www.vimeo.com/5262390

New publications:   London-based film scholar Sharon Lin Tay,  has  
written about this interactive cinema work La Conchita mon amour as  
one 'vignette of a new feminist politique': this in her forthcoming  
book,  Women on the Edge: Twelve Political Film Practices, Macmillan/ 
Palgrave-Macmillan, US/UK, November 2009. http://us.macmillan.com/womenontheedgetwelvepoliticalfilmpractices

looking forward to November,

all my best,



More information about the iDC mailing list